Pressrelease: Cracking the Penalty Code


In the year 2000, George Vergouw published his football-book De Strafschop (The Penalty) in the Netherlands. Based on his analysis, he predicted that players like Patrick Kluivert and Frank de Boer would miss their penalties and that the Dutch would be eliminated from the championship losing a shootout in the quarter of semifinals. Both predictions came true. He also suggested the goalkeeper switch just before the penalty shootout was due to start, a feat finally introduced 14 years later by Louis van Gaal. His now classic big data football book was ahead of its time, published three years before the data breakthrough book Moneyball.

Vergouw now publishes a new penalty book, fully dedicated to the shootout, Cracking the penalty Code, winning a shootout in football. The publication  is aimed at both Dutch and especially English fans and football professionals. Above all is is a book about the background of the penalty and personal experiences (and collisions) with football professionals. What can we do together, players, trainers, press and fans, to pass on that cycle of losing shootouts?

In Cracking the Penalty Code I compare the football culture of England and the Netherlands with that of Germany, the Czech Republic and Argentina, countries that are good at taking penalties. Many questions are answered in the book, including:

Why do people, especially in England and the Netherlands, think that the penalty kick cannot be trained? And why does this thought alone lead to worse penalties?

Where does the idea of ​​the goalkeeper change, big data in sports (not Moneyball!) really come from?

Is Messi or Ronaldo the better penalty taker?

Are women better penalty takers than men? And if yes/no, why/why not?

When is a penalty shootout a lottery? When definitely not?

How can you deal with stress better as a player? How can you train for it (properly).

The answers to these and many other questions can be found in Cracking the Penalty Code. Available from today as an E-book through all Dutch and many international online bookstores, E-commerce platforms and distribution points.

The printed book is available in the Netherlands and Belgium.

Cracking the Penalty Code
Winning a Shootout in Football

Author: George Vergouw
Uitgeverij VP

E-book ISBN 978-90-833390-3-0
Price: € 12,95

Paperback ISBN 978-90-833390-1-6
Price: € 24,95

Not for publication:

If you would like to receive more information on Cracking the Penalty Code, please contact the author at


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